, PRETORIA, Jun 4 – A South African court on Tuesday postponed the pre-trial hearing of Oscar Pistorius to August 19 to allow police to wrap up their probe into his Valentine’s Day shooting of model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Looking tense and sombre in a grey suit and blue shirt and tie, the 26-year-old Paralympian dubbed the “Blade Runner” briefly appeared in court for the first time since being released on bail over the murder that shattered his hero image.
In a macabre coincidence, his next court appearance will fall on the same day that his slain lover would have turned 30.
The hearing inside the packed courtroom lasted only a few minutes as prosecutors sought, and defence agreed to, a postponement to allow police to wrap up their investigation.
Pistorius is accused of murdering Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day at his upmarket home in the South African capital.
Prosecutors have charged the star sprinter with premeditated murder. Conviction carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
But he claims he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder in a “terrible accident” and the defence wants the charge reduced to culpable homicide, which risks up to 15 years behind bars.
Tuesday’s hearing came just days after a British television channel broadcast leaked graphic pictures showing the blood-spattered bathroom where Pistorius fatally shot Steenkamp multiple times through a locked door.
The model and law graduate, who had been dating Pistorius for just a few months, suffered gunshot wounds to her head, elbow and hip.